The church biscuit: 33. Bakewell biscuits

Bakewell Biscuits (from Biscuit by Miranda Gore Browne: Ebury Press 2012)

Bakewell Biscuits (from Biscuit by Miranda Gore Browne: Ebury Press 2012)

Last week I bought Biscuit by Miranda Gore Browne (Ebury Press 2012). I’ve plumbed the crumby depths of all my existing cookery books and this one looked full of new recipes and and interesting ideas. This is the first recipe I’ve tried and I was a bit surprised at not being given a temperature specifically for a fan oven (is this because recently published cookery books  assume all electric ovens nowadays have fans?).  Anyway, opting for caution, I deducted 10 degrees from the given temperature, deciding I could always cook the biscuits longer. My second problem was that a baking time of 30-35 minutes was definitely too long. I took my biscuits out of the oven after 20 minutes and that was quite long enough. (15 minutes might be better if the biscuits should be chewy as the recipe suggests; at 20 minutes mine were very pleasantly slightly – but not overwhelmingly crunchy). I might email the publisher/author with these points – if I can be bothered – erm, if I have the time. I shall certainly try more recipes in the book as they look enticingly different but from now on I shall be careful about the cooking time.

Notes on Bakewell tart for non English readers:

Bakewell tart is an English dessert almost every detail of which is the subject of dispute. In Bakewell in Derbyshire it is definitely a pudding not a tart and until the C20th it seems to have been more of a custard tart made with candied peel. However, almost anybody you could ask today would insist it is a pastry tart with a layer of jam topped with a sponge made of ground almonds. See this article in the Guardian for bear traps surrounding this cultural confection.


Bakewell biscuits (from Biscuit by Miranda Gore Browne: Ebury Press 2012

Bakewell biscuits (from Biscuit by Miranda Gore Browne: Ebury Press 2012)

Bakewell Biscuits

 Makes 35 biscuits 2 inches/ 5 cm diam.

125 g unsalted butter softened

250 g caster sugar (I use golden)

125 g soft light brown sugar

1/2 – 1 teasp almond extract

1 lightly beaten egg

150 g self-raising flour (sifted)

125 g ground almonds

176 g chopped glacé cherries (I use glacé Morello cherries)

50 g flaked almonds toasted (optional)


100 g icing sugar

1/4 teasp almond extract mixed with a very little water

Preheat oven to 150 degrees C/ 140 degrees C for a fan oven/ Gas Mark 2. Line trays with non-stick baking paper.

Cream together the butter, sugars and almond extract. Beat in the egg. Now add the flour, ground almonds and glacé cherries and mix until a soft dough forms.

Flour your hands and roll the sticky dough into ball the size of a walnut and put on the baking sheet. Gently press to flatten it and sprinkle with the flaked almonds (I didn’t have many so put just one in the middle of the biscuit).

Bake for 15 – 20 minutes until puffy and pale golden. Let cool on the tray for about 5 minutes and then transfer to a wire cooling rack (easiest to do this using a palette knife).

When completely cold, put sheets of greaseproof paper beneath the rack before icing.

For the icing, mix the sugar with the almond extract and a very little water – the mixture should be runny enough for drizzling. Put it in a piping bag, snip of a tiny corner to make a hole and then sig zag over the biscuit. Leave to set.

Verdict: V. good but very sweet.

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  1. Lydia Sage
    Posted June 3, 2014 at 10:24 am | Permalink

    Bakewell biscuits – yum! My Mother made the best Bakewell Tart I remember the lovely almond taste so well. I will try the recipe. I have been making a tiny incursion into biscuit making myself – ginger nuts from an ancient copy of Cranks Cookery Book that I have owned for more than 30 years… They contain black treacle which I am very happy to buy as I love the lettering on the red and black tin and will keep it for pencils or some such use.

    • Mary Addison
      Posted June 3, 2014 at 7:51 pm | Permalink

      Funnily enough, I never really liked the taste of almonds in cooking when I was little; now I can’t get enough of it and the most successful of my biscuits incorporate ground almonds somewhere.

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